Freelance Journalist


Posts in Journalism
5 Offbeat Attractions in Rome

Rome may be one of the most conventional tourist destinations on the planet, with iconic attractions that have been world-famous for thousands of years.

But buried under all of those well-worn cobbled paths lies a Rome rarely explored. From a crypt exhibiting 4,000 decaying Franciscan monks to an archaeological site spanning several subterranean levels, this is the version of Rome without millions of other tourists.

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We Need A Government That Cares More About Science (And Six Other Things We Learned From Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Melbourne Talk)

Being the most famous (see also: sexiest) astrophysicist in the world, Neil deGrasse Tyson often gets sidetracked into conversations about things that aren’t particularly astrophysical.

A prominent face in science news cycles, he’s become the poor guy on the receiving end of a lot of inane and irrelevant conversation — like the time he tore apart what we thought was the bulletproof science behind Gravity, the fact that he’s now more commonly known as a “Pluto-hater” than scientist...

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Failure to launch - Australia is one of the last developed nations without a space agency

Australia is one of two Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries left in the world without their own space agency. The list of have-nots has been slowly whittled down over the years -- New Zealand being the latest OECD nation to establish its own agency -- and yet, Australia has continued to stay out of the space race.

Without a space agency of our own, the developed world is quite literally leaving us behind.

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Aziz Ansari’s New Show ‘Master Of None’ Isn’t Really About Him, And That’s What Makes It Great

With characteristic naivety, Ansari’s character delves into the previously overlooked lives of his immigrant parents, his friends’ grandparents, his female friends and other Indian actors. As a result, each episode feels like a short film that tries to answer the question, “What’s up with that?” And, by removing himself from Master Of None’s spotlight, Ansari proves he’s a comedy writer to contend with the best of them.

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The Look Of Silence

Joshua Oppenheimer’s 2012 documentary, The Act Of Killing, had a profound impact on modern Indonesia. By having perpetrators re-enact their killings, the film shed light on the national perception of the 1965-66 communist genocide, in which nearly one million innocent Indonesians were brutally murdered. The film revealed a modern climate that celebrated these killers, who have faced no retribution whatsoever. The Look Of Silence is Oppenheimer’s companion piece to The Act Of Killing, the other side of the coin. It’s a devastating look at the continued suppression of the victims’ families and a country unwilling to take ownership for their past atrocities.

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The Witch: Goddamned Pilgrims

It’s not often that a supernatural horror movie leaves the “based on true events” claim for the end credits, but this is exactly the kind of no-frills, no-gimmicks approach that elevates The Witch to a place amongst the genre’s finest. First-time director Robert Eggers’s stripped back approach actually echoes the precision of The Shining, proving that the most effective horrors get under your skin by leaving the more grisly details to your imagination.

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The Mad Genius of Adult Swim's Rick and Morty

We’re all familiar with the riotous, irreverent and often disturbing antics of the Cartoon Network’s weird cousin, Adult Swim. It’s the station responsible for the likes of The Venture Bros., Harvey Birdman, Children’s Hospital, Robot Chicken and those terrifying infomercials — you know, immature, dark and bizarre; those kinds of shows.

But one of those shows, while it is all of those things, layers on a moral and structural complexity you only really see on the prestige cable networks, while using itself as a platform for discussion about the place science has in contemporary society.

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“Surreal And Unimaginable”: Film-Maker Lucas Shrank On The Stories Behind His Powerful Manus Island Film

Despite the excessive red tape shutting us out of the system, there has been a slow drip-feed of stories emerging from inside Australia’s offshore refugee processing centres. Squalid living conditions, restricted movement, claims of inadequate medical facilities, mistreatment of gay asylum seekers and the constant fear of violence is an everyday reality for the men, women and children housed there. The stories that have emerged so far have consistently made international headlines, drawing damning statements from both The United Nations as well as American NGO Human Rights Watch.

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TV Is ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’ Essential Viewing, Or Exploitative Reality TV?

Before getting stuck into the finale of Go Back To Where You Came From’s third season, we all have to make a concession: this is reality television. Everything is bitchy exchanges, super dramatic musical cues, and emotions. So many emotions. It even encourages you to have fun in trying to figure out if Kim is simply ignorant or completely sociopathic.

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Reddit’s Diabolical Social Experiment ‘The Button’ Is Setting The Internet On Fire

At 9am on April 1, 2015, the reddit community was presented with a diabolically simple and mysterious social experiment: The Button. An enigmatic post from the reddit admins, the experiment was simply a button attached to a 60-second countdown timer. Once a reddit user presses the button, the timer resets. Each user only gets one press, and new redditors are barred from engaging in the experiment.

Its purpose remains a mystery, a dynamic that seems designed exclusively to thrust members into an existential dilemma. Do you wait to push the button, give yourself the chance to keep the timer alive when it most needs it?

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The last thing you’d expect the new comedy series from Tina Fey to be is incisive, but that’s just what Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt seems to be. While 30 Rock tackled its fair share of contemporary issues, it did so somewhat half-heartedly. Head writer Liz Lemon’s journey through prejudice in the world of show business came with a sugar coated gleam, a discussion capped by the impermanence of the sitcom plot and a savvy smirk from Alec Baldwin. To its credit, that unwillingness to get bogged down in discussion at the cost of a gag is what made the show such an endearingly simple pleasure.

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The Science of the Jump Scare

Of the hundreds of thousands of horror movies out there, which do you line up this Halloween? Well, the sign of a truly great horror movie tends to be a powerful, inalterable image. You could go for Linda Blair’s scarred, vomity and putrefied face from The Exorcist, Norman Bates’ cross-dressing silhouette in Psycho or Danny’s first encounter with the creepy British twins in The Shining, all of them markers we’ve used to define the genre. Yet, while these images may have scarred our brains (and childhoods) forever, we seem to overlook the sound design built around them. These images alone are nothing without the atmosphere of claustrophobic diegetic sound and a moody score.

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Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.

Enjoying Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes requires only one thing from you: admitting that you bought into the idea that super-intelligent apes have forged their own society (and can talk, ride horses, accurately operate heavy weaponry on the first try, as well as manipulate basic political principles). After that, this follow-up from Matt Reeves, the director of Cloverfield and Let Me In, is wall to wall gripping cinema.

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past

No worthwhile discussion of an X-Men film can exist without a fair amount of criticism, so let’s lay it all upfront. Brian Singer’s comic aesthetic is a vestigial leftover of the original film from 2000. Drab metallic suits and lifeless characterisations may have made sense in a time where comic book films were risky studio endeavours, but in a market saturated with vibrant costumes and immediately endearing performances, Days Of Future Past is plain fucking ugly. Which is a crying shame, because while the reboot cast is an exponential improvement, the film is a visual wasteland. Case and point is the character design on the really god-awful Quicksilver, who’s been plucked from the canon for no reason other than to facilitate what is, admittedly, a fun slow-motion set-piece. That stupid silver jacket though. Most of these effectively executed action set pieces fall to the wayside due to a lack of any visual hooks.

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Godzilla - Jurassic Park, Not Gojira

There is so much to gawk at in Godzilla, both in what you see onscreen and how it’s being displayed. Director Gareth Edwards hasn’t taken just a single leaf out of Steven Spielberg’s handbook, but the structure, tone and idiosyncratic touches of his entire blockbuster catalogue. For those who were weaned onto big-budget cinema with Jurassic Park or Jaws, Godzilla boasts all the essential touchstones. Walking a fine line between foreshadowing and straight-up tease, Edwards drip feeds the audience spectacle, doling out snippets of his gloriously rendered beasts like a disgruntled prison lunch lady. 

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Poor Community.
Jeff: Abed, you’ve had how many breakdowns?

The ragtag Greendale study group have been battered, bruised and brutally pigeonholed over the last four years. Each opening episode to a season played out with a certain kind of melancholy, with its writers attempting to wrest the narrative in their own direction from previous collaborators. With season five, the tug of war involved the triumphant return of Dan Harmon as showrunner. With him at the reins, Community acquired that familiar, yet almost intangible feeling of conversation; writing steeped in pop culture referencing and meta in-joking that felt like it responds to its audience. Instead of lauding at his reappointment at the head of season 5, Harmon seemed to find the whole business of re-appropriating the plot detrimental to both the characters’ and his own mental well-being. The title “Repilot” alone suggests distaste for the tradition, expressly realised through the characters’ utterly bleak need to return to study group.

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